Category Archives: Brandy

Cognac Park Borderies, 10 Year Old Mizunara Cask, Single Cru Cognac, 44%

Mizunara – or Japanese Oak – is all the rage right now.

A growing number of whiskey companies are choosing to finish their precious liquid in this exotic, rare & difficult to work with wood.

Why?

To extract some of the fabulous flavours from the wood & enhance the drinking experience.

Other spirits categories are likely to follow & on spotting this Cognac Park Mizunara Cask – I had to try it!

Golden brown in colour, there’s subtle aromas of light sandalwood contrasting with the dark fruitiness expected from an aged cognac.

The light & fresh appeal carries through on tasting – definitely an alternative experience to some heavier cognacs.

The finish excites with a prickly heat, tannic spiciness & sweet fruits.

An impressive & welcome innovative experiment into Mizunara finishing in the cognac world.

Sláinte

For further reading on Mizunara see webpage here.

Cognac Park website here.

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In Praise of Miniatures

Up in Dublin to meet friends & family was a different style of trip to my Poitín Now adventures of last weekend.

I did however manage a quick visit to the Celtic Whiskey Shop to replenish my miniatures.

I do love miniatures.

When you have shelves groaning with around 50 opened bottles of varying spirits – not to mention a similar number waiting to be uncorked – constantly buying more is no longer an option.

There’s also the squeeze on spending by having to fork out increasing amounts for basics – let alone the luxury of drink – so miniatures it is!

There were 3 untried expressions that made my basket.

Nardini Grappa Riserva – to further explore my Grappa fascination.

Cognac Park 10yo Mizunara Cask – Mizunara seems to be all the rage right now – so why can’t Cognac get in on the act?

and

Fercullen Falls Whiskey – Powerscourt’s latest core release blend.

Expect a monologue on each in due course!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Celtic Whiskey Shop website here.

Hennessy VS Cognac x Julien Colombier, 40%

Raiding the drinks cabinet at a friend’s house can sometimes uncover the unexpected – like this Hennessy x Julien Colombier Cognac.

Not sporting the usual golden label did make me wonder if the contents were different – so I poured a glass!

Dark, woody aromas greeted me.

A smooth, easy palate gave a warming embrace.

I enjoyed the lovely turn of tannic spice towards the finish.

A very easy & attractive cognac with suitable depth & complexity to sip & enjoy.

Turns out Hennessy have commissioned a number of limited-edition artworks to grace their famous brand. Paris based Julien Colombier’s happens to be the one I had the good fortune to encounter.

Hennessy’s art of distilling, maturing & blending the cognac reassuringly stays the same.

Sláinte

Hennessy webpage here.

Tesco Napoleon Brandy, 3 Years Old, 36%

Why did I buy Tesco Napoleon Brandy?

A number of reasons.

To begin with it was there, on the shelf, in my local store, and in a 350ml bottle too, making it both accessible & affordable – increasingly important factors in the current economic climate.

Further, my St Remy VSOP Brandy, initially purchased for an WSET course back in 2019, was nearing it’s end. I found the brandy world shared – like whiskey – a set of rules & regulations governing it’s production – as well as a long history – plus barrel ageing too & I enjoyed the drinking experience, encouraging me to explore more.

Tesco Napoleon appeared a shade darker than my St Remy, suggestive of extra caramel, a permissible added ingredient for the category – just like whiskey.

Quite a shy nose – not very aromatic for me – soft sweet winey elements are all I got.

Smooth, soft mouthfeel, easy on the palate.

Dark notes of burnt caramel & a tingling warmth surfaced on the finish giving Tesco Napoleon a bit of a lift.

Lacked any hints of oakiness I enjoyed with St Remy.

After sampling Tesco Napoleon I read the label – Mellow And Smooth Taste – it says.

A very accurate appraisal of what I found.

Sláinte

Read my study method for the WSET exam here.

For an interesting read on ingredients in brandy see cognacreverie.com blog here.

WSET website here.

St Remy VSOP review here.

Martell VS, Cognac, 40%

Martell Cognac is available in virtually every Irish supermarket.

Not too surprising – Pernod Ricard own the brand.

I picked up this miniature to give it a whirl.

The nose was quite expressive, rich, warm & inviting with a touch of nuttiness.

The nuttiness followed through on the palate which was pleasingly smooth yet offered some depth & fruity complexity.

A welcome soft tannic spice livened up the finish.

Before the phylloxera bug nearly destroyed the vineyards of the late 1800’s Cognac was the spirit of choice.

I can see why after enjoying the flavoursome delights of this Martell VS.

Worth trying.

All images authors own.

St Rémy VSOP, French Brandy, 40%

Doing the Wine & Spirit Education Trust – WSET – Level 2 Spirits Course a few years ago opened my palate to spirit categories I hadn’t appreciated before.

Brandy being one of them.

This St Rémy bottle is a leftover from that course.

You have to taste a variety of spirits to pick out the characteristics of each category.

It looks like a whiskey.

The nose is sweet & fruity.

Soft, smooth & mellow on the palate.

Finishes with a gentle oaky spice.

An easy approachable drinker to sit back & mull over – if it wasn’t for the phylloxera epidemic of the 1860’s that wiped out most of the grapevines worldwide – could brandy have been as big as whiskey?

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Carlos I, Solera Gran Reserva, Brandy de Jerez, 40%

My wife brought me back this miniature from Spain a few years ago.

Never got round to tasting it – until now.

Plummy sweet nose with a solid earthy feel.

Sweet & easy palate with a slight nuttiness.

Lovely turn of earthy spice on the rear.

Beats any brandy I’ve had before!

One to sip & savour.

Sláinte